Last update 3-Jul-2011

MBSE BBS Basic Installation


Before you compile and install MBSE BBS you must first setup the basic environment. If you don't do this, things will fail.

To compile and install MBSE BBS most distributions have installed all needed packages. If important packages are missing then the configure script will tell you. There are also less important packages which if missinng still let you compile MBSE BBS, but you will miss some features. Here is a short list of these packages:

  1. Zlib. On some distributions you also need zlib development. When you have zlib installed, then in mbcico extra code will be compiled in the Hydra and Binkp protocol drivers that will allow the PLZ extension. In the binkp protocol GZ compression will be enabled as well.
  2. Bzlib. On some distributions you need to install bzlib2 development to add support for binkp BZ2 compression.
  3. GeoIP. Allows logging of the origin of the network connections by country and continent. You need at least GeoIP 1.4.3 to compile without errors. See
If you use Gentoo or Ubuntu, read the files README.Gentoo or README.Ubuntu. The last one may be usefull for Debian users too.


Step 1: planning the filesystems.

MBSE BBS is default installed in /opt/mbse. It should be possible to install the bbs in a different location but this is not supported. Many have tried, and and only a few have succeeded. See Filesystem Hierarchy Standard for more info. The default filesystem layout looks like this:

/opt/mbse                       0775  Default MBSE_ROOT
/opt/mbse/bin                   0770  Binaries
/opt/mbse/etc                   0770  System configuration files
/opt/mbse/etc/dosemu            0750  DOSemu configuration files
/opt/mbse/ftp/pub               0755  Default FTP root for download areas.
/opt/mbse/home                  0770  Users homedirectories
/opt/mbse/home/bbs              0770  Newuser account
/opt/mbse/html                  0755  HTML documentation
/opt/mbse/log                   0770  MBSE BBS logfiles
/opt/mbse/share/doc             0750  Generated sitedocs
/opt/mbse/share/doc/html        0750  Generated html sitedocs
/opt/mbse/share/doc/tags        0750  Generated area tags
/opt/mbse/share/int             0750  Base for language files
/opt/mbse/share/int/macro/de    0750  German template macro's
/opt/mbse/share/int/macro/en    0750  English template macro's
/opt/mbse/share/int/macro/es    0750  Spanish template macro's
/opt/mbse/share/int/macro/fr    0750  French template macro's
/opt/mbse/share/int/macro/gl    0750  Galego template macro's
/opt/mbse/share/int/macro/nl    0750  Dutch template macro's
/opt/mbse/share/int/macro/zh    0750  Chinese template macro's
/opt/mbse/share/int/menus/de    0750  German menu files
/opt/mbse/share/int/menus/en    0750  English menu files
/opt/mbse/share/int/menus/es    0750  Spanish menu files
/opt/mbse/share/int/menus/fr    0750  French menu files
/opt/mbse/share/int/menus/gl    0750  Galego menu files
/opt/mbse/share/int/menus/nl    0750  Dutch menu files
/opt/mbse/share/int/menus/zh    0750  Chinese menu files
/opt/mbse/share/int/txtfiles/de 0750  German ansi screens
/opt/mbse/share/int/txtfiles/en 0750  English ansi screens
/opt/mbse/share/int/txtfiles/es 0750  Spanish ansi screens
/opt/mbse/share/int/txtfiles/fr 0750  French ansi screens
/opt/mbse/share/int/txtfiles/gl 0750  Galego ansi screens
/opt/mbse/share/int/txtfiles/nl 0750  Dutch ansi screens
/opt/mbse/share/int/txtfiles/zh 0750  Chinese ansi screens
/opt/mbse/tmp                   0770  Temp directory
/opt/mbse/tmp/arc               0770  Temp archiver directory
/opt/mbse/var                   0770  Var root
/opt/mbse/var/arealists         0750  Areamgr arealist files
/opt/mbse/var/badtic            0750  Bad TIC files
/opt/mbse/var/boxes             0770  Base for nodes fileboxes
/opt/mbse/var/bso               0770  Binkley Style Outbound directory
/opt/mbse/var/bso/outbound      0770  Default outbound for main aka
/opt/mbse/var/dosemu            0770  Base for DOS drives (doors)
/opt/mbse/var/dosemu/c          0770  DOS drive C:
/opt/mbse/var/fdb               0770  Files database
/opt/mbse/var/inbound           0750  Protected inbound directory
/opt/mbse/var/magic             0750  Magic filerequest names
/opt/mbse/var/mail              0770  JAM messagebase root
/opt/mbse/var/msgs              0770  *.msgs netmail directory
/opt/mbse/var/nodelist          0750  Nodelists
/opt/mbse/var/queue             0750  Queue for before outbound
/opt/mbse/var/rules             0770  Echomail area rules files
/opt/mbse/var/run               0770  Pid files of running programs
/opt/mbse/var/sema              0777  Semafore files
/opt/mbse/var/ticqueue          0750  Queue for TIC files
/opt/mbse/var/unknown           0750  Unprotected inbound directory

Don't use UMSDOS or SAMBA filesystems for the bbs, stick by the standard GNU/Linux filesystems (ext2, ext3 or reiserfs) or ufs if you use FreeBSD. If you intent to make your bbs also accessible by FTP and WWW you must create the directory structure under the ftp user behind the pub directory. Read the ftp server doc for details. If you don't follow these guidlines, you will run into trouble later and have to spend a lot of time in correcting this error.


Step 2: Running the installation script.

First, if you use FreeBSD, install the psmisc package. This will make sure that MBSE BBS is stopped properly if you shutdown your computer. Also if you use FreeBSD 5.0 or later make sure that you mount procfs, see man procfs for details. If you don't mount procfs, you cannot add new users to the bbs and existing bbs users cannot change their passwords. As sysop, you can't change passwords too.
If you are upgrading, proceed with step 4. If not, follow the next steps very carefully!
The installation script must be run by root. It checks if there is a previous or failed installation on your system. If that's so the script will not run. In other words, you can only run this script once. The script makes backup copies of the system files it changes, these files will get the extension .mbse To run the installation script you need the archive mbbsebbs- Unpack this archive on your system, in /tmp:

cd /tmp
tar xfvj /path/to/the/mbsebbs-
To start the script type:
cd mbsebbs-
bash ./
Ubuntu users should do:
cd mbsebbs-
sudo bash ./
Yes, use bash as shell here. On some systems root doesn't use bash as login shell, calling the script with bash forces the use of bash. The script does the following:
  1. Create the group bbs
  2. Create the user mbse On Ubuntu this user is added to the admin group.
  3. Create a .profile for user mbse
  4. Create and set owner of directory tree under /opt/mbse
Then the script will ask you to give a password for user mbse This password is for system maintenance and for you to make changes to the bbs. You will need that frequently but you should not make that password easy to guess of course. The script will then continue again:
  1. The user bbs is added.
  2. The password will be removed from user bbs This action will make changes in /etc/shadow (if you have that) otherwise in /etc/passwd. On FreeBSD it uses other tools to modify the master database. On NetBSD you have to do that manually, there are no tools to do that.
  3. If they don't exist in the file /etc/services the services fido, tfido and binkp will be added.
  4. If they don't exist in the file /etc/inetd.conf the internet protocols for the mailer will be added. The inetd is restarted to activate the changes. If your distribution uses xinetd instead of inetd, an include file for xinetd is added instead.


Step 3: Check the basic installation

The last screen of the script is about sanity checks. Perform those checks! If something is wrong, now is the time to fix it. Don't panic and remember the backups of the system files that are changed are in /etc with the extension .mbse i.e: those were the original files. The installation logfile is copied to /opt/mbse. If everythings is allright, then remove the directory /tmp/mbsebbs-

cd /tmp
rm -Rf mbsebbs-


Step 4: Install the basic packages.

Login as user mbse. Yes, very important, login as user mbse. While in mbse's home directory (/opt/mbse) unpack the distribution archives:

tar xfvj /path/to/mbsebbs-
You now have the subdirectory with sources in the right place. Next build the binaries and install them using the following commands:
cd ~/mbsebbs-
./configure [--enable-optimize] [--enable-newsgate] [--enable-gdkdel]
su        important, do not use "su -"
password: enter root password here
make install
Ubuntu users should do:
cd ~/mbsebbs-
./configure [--enable-optimize] [--enable-newsgate] [--enable-gdkdel]
sudo make install
Important: it seems logical to use the --enable-newsgate option but it isn't. When you do, the mbnntp program is disabled and you cannot serve echomail as news to your users via internet. But you can gate echomail to the internet. Independant of your choice, you can allways make internet news available for your bbs users. Only use --enable-newsgate if you really need to gate echomail to the internet.

To support Chinese the DELete key needs to be changed because it conflicts with one of the characters. If you want to use Chinese, use --enable-gbkdel to configure.

The last part of the installation procedure shows you the location of the bbs startup script that is added to your system. Remember this one for a moment. Because this is your first time installation, example menus and example textfiles are installed. If they already exist on your systems (when you do an upgrade) they will not be installed again.

Now start the bbs for the first time (still as root) by executing the startup script you just saw on the screen followed by a space and the word start. For example:

/etc/rc.d/init.d/mbsed start
Ubuntu users do:
sudo /etc/init.d/mbsebbs start
This will start the mbtask daemon. After that the bbs will be opened for use. Check the file /opt/mbse/log/mbtask.log for startup problems. The first time mbtask is started on your system it will create a lot of new configuration files with default settings.


Step 5: Ready.

Now you have shell scripts in ~/etc, most of them are called by cron, some are called during system startup and shutdown. You also have some default configuration files, these are ttyinfo, modems, fidonet networks. In the default (english) directory you now have default menu datafiles and ansi screens. These are copies of my test system so you have to edit them to build your own bbs.
Editing ansi screens can be done on a GNU/Linux system with one of the following packages:

  1. duhdraw, this is available from 2:280/2802 as duhdraw.tgz (68 Kbytes). The binaries are included in this archive, if you compile it yourself it may give trouble so if the binaries work, use these.
  2. TetraDraw This is a very nice Ansi editor, you can get this file as TETR~VC#.TGZ from 2:280/2802. The file is 157 Kbytes.
You may also want to edit ~/etc/header.txt and ~/etc/footer.txt, these files are the top and bottom of the newfiles/allfiles listings.

Now the basic environment is finished, the next thing to do is configure the bbs.


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